Plantiff attorney to send out court-ordered employee notices Wednesday

By Jim Painter - For the Sidney Daily News

DAYTON – Recent federal court rulings in a labor dispute civil lawsuit filed against Airstream in Jackson Center have led to a mass mailing to current and former employees on Wednesday. In all, 1,041 notices will be mailed by the plantiff’s attorney informing the employees how they may join a class action lawsuit against the company.

The company has also been ordered to take a three-year look back regarding alleged overtime pay standards that have come into question through the lawsuit.

On March 1, Sandra Funk, 43, 8262 Lochard Road, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Dayton. She claims the manufacturer wrongly compensated employees for overtime pay, and, was in violation of employment standards. She is also claiming violations of her personal rights in steps taken by management in the termination of her employment.

In May, U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice ordered notices be sent to Airstream employees who received overtime from April 29, 2015 or after that date. The information to be mailed Wednesday includes information on how to file, or opt-in, to the action. They have 90 days, until Sept. 11, to join the suit.

Rice further ruled Airstream officials are to comply a list of e-mail addresses for employees to send a reminder to those employees of the opt-in procedure as the deadline draws near, according to Funk’s attorney, Matthew Coffman of Columbus.

Documents provided by Airstream attorney Vladimir Belo of Columbus, state employees are protected from any retaliation from the company.

Medical absences lead to firing

In her suit, Funk is also seeking compensation for alleged violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with interference of her rights; and, for a violation of the Fair Market Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for retaliation actions towards her.

In March 2017, Funk developed a medical condition that required ongoing, and at times, immediate, medical care. She was absent from work from March 12 to April 10, 2017, claiming she qualified for the terms of the FMLA. Airstream officials approved Funk for the leave, according to online court records.

In May, Funk claims ongoing medical problems led to attendance problems. On July 12, 2017, she received a letter stating that she was terminated for numerous failures of attendance. It was noted in the letter that Funk did not promptly request a medical leave. She claims it was retaliation against her for using the FMLA.

Also, Funk claims she was not notified of her eligibility for medical coverage, if she began paying the premiums, when she was terminated. Employees may participate in the COBRA program (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) and continue their health coverage, once they are terminated.

Funk states she was not notified of the COBRA option. Coffman claims his client is eligible to receive the $110 per day penalty from the company for the non-disclosure, all medical expenses during that time, attorney fees and court-related costs.

By Jim Painter

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.